Sportsmanship seems to be struggling in Kentucky: The governing body for high school sports in the state has told schools to stop having organized handshakes after games because the practice has led to dozens of fights over the last few years, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Students can still shake hands with opposing teams voluntarily but if an organized handshake is held and school administrators and coaches fail to keep the peace, fines may be issued. The directive advises referees and officials to leave immediately after the game instead of becoming involved in any postgame activities.
The executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations says sportsmanship is in decline across the country and the same rule change has happened in other states. "We have seen that erosion occur at almost every level; almost every state association can point to an incident like this," he says. Some coaches say they hope to continue the tradition despite the directive. "I'm a big proponent of sportsmanship, and we're going to shake hands, win or lose, unless my bosses tell me not to," says the boys' basketball coach at Lexington Catholic High School.